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Star Trek: Picard Season 1 Blu-ray Review

“Star Trek: Picard” is an uneven journey that is still well worth engaging on. 

The 10 episode first season of “Star Trek: Picard” is set 20 years after “Star Trek: Nemesis.” In this time period, Jean-Luc Picard has retired from Starfleet (I won’t say why) and is running a vineyard. His retirement doesn’t last, however, when he is called back into action after encountering a mysterious young woman named Dahj that has a twin sister named Soji. Hoping to find Soji, Picard ensembles a rag-tag crew together comprised of a broken former Starfleet officer Raffi, another former Starfleet officer turned freelance pilot Rios (who has the ship La Sirena), Dr. Jurati, and a Romulan refugee warrior named Elnor. Of course, that’s not even a fraction of what happens this season. Expect plots about synthetics, a reclaimed Borg Cube known as the Artifact, nefarious Romulan Narek and his sister Narissa, a vengeful and hardened Seven Of Nine, a Romulan secret organization known as the Zhat Vash, and Soji’s homeworld.

As a longtime Star Trek fan, I was overjoyed to hear that Patrick Stewart was returning as Jean-Luc Picard in his own series. After “Star Trek: Nemesis,” it seemed as if we would never see the characters from the “Star Trek: The Next Generation” (or TNG for short) era again, but thankfully, that is no longer the case. Now, it should be noted that this series is not like TNG. At all. “Picard” has an often dark, gritty, and cynical vibe which may put off fans of the usually optimistic Trek. Moreover, each episode tends to have a different feel which makes for some odd tonal shifts. If you can get past that, you’ll likely find yourself becoming involved in the sci-fi series.

To say there’s a lot going on in “Star Trek: Picard” is an understatement. It’s a large scale series with numerous epic storylines, familiar faces from past series that will undoubtedly make you geek out (no spoilers here aside from the aforementioned Seven of Nine), new characters such as the scene stealing Rios (wonderfully played by Santiago Cabrera) who has numerous hologram variations of himself, surprises, twists, callbacks, and even direct continuations from “Star Trek: Nemesis.” Although I personally loved all the connections to the Trek universe, the show is at its best when it focuses on the titular fan favorite (with Patrick Stewart clearly relishing his return to the character). He’s an aging man that has changed in some ways but not in others. He’s haunted a bit by the past and that certainly plays into his character arc here. Again, I’m not going to go into spoilers, but the character’s arc is certainly major here to say the least.

Alas, Picard is not always the main focus which is partially why the season is a bit unwieldy and messy half of the time. Even with immense talent like Michael Chabon, Akiva Goldsman, Alex Kurtzman, and Kirsten Beyer guiding the ship so to speak, the series takes awhile to find its footing and start the adventure. Additionally, there are many questionable creative choices here involving synthetics (way too many cliched Terminator correlations), puzzling character actions that feel forced for dramatic purposes, giant space flowers, a convenient and rushed ending, and characters that feel underserved (especially Narissa). 

Overall Thoughts: Flawed as it may be, “Star Trek: Picard” is still a must see for Trek fans. If you don’t have CBS All Access, now is a great time to pick up the first season on home video. 

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 2.35:1 1080p. How does it look? Now only does the show look crystal clear, but this is arguably the best looking Trek show ever made (so far).

Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? A dynamic 5.1 track that will make any home entertainment audio system come to life. 

Extras:
* Deleted scenes from episodes 1, 8, 9 and 10.
* “Star Trek: Short Treks: Children Of Mars”- As I predicted, the “Picard” prequel “Short Treks” episode “Children of Mars” that is missing from the stand-alone home video release of “Short Treks” is indeed included here.
* “Make It So”- A featurette about bringing the character of Picard back into his own show. Expect plenty of interviews, behind-the-scenes footage, and discussions about how the show came about.
* A story log for each episode which is essentially a short behind-the-scenes featurette for each episode. Topics range from directors to plots.
* A social distance video commentary on “Remembrance” by Alex Kurtzman, Akiva Goldsman, Michael Chabon, Hanelle M. Culpepper and Kirsten Beyer.
* An 8 minute gag reel.
* “Aliens Alive: The xBs”- A behind-the-scenes look at how the xBs are created.
* “Picard Props”- A prop department tour.
* “Set Me Up”- A 14 ½ minute featurette that mostly covers the production design, ships and sets.
* “The Motley Crew”- A featurette on the cast of characters. 

October 11, 2020 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , ,

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